Like many other women around the country, I'm reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst right now. I'm working through it with my Bible study friends - we just met last night - and I'm studying it online with Melissa Taylor. I've watched all the webcasts and have been reading Lysa's blog for a few years, so food messages are about to come pouring out of my ears right now. That's okay, though - I obviously need them.
This morning as I was reading along in my Bible, plodding through Leviticus with Wendy Pope (I really like these Proverbs 31 ladies - can ya tell??), something suddenly jumped out at me. God was telling the people how important it was to maintain the new covenant and what He would do if the Israelites didn't uphold their end of the bargain. (They didn't, of course. They messed up over and over and over and over ... well, you get the idea.)
God said that He would mess with their food, to use Lysa's words! He says to obey His laws or, while food will be hard to come by and will be rationed, there will be food to eat - but they won't be happy with that. They won't be satisfied.
Now, I'd think that if I messed up so badly as to cause the God of the Universe to reach down His hand and create droughts and bring in neighbors to steal my crops and change the world's weather patterns, the little matter of happy taste buds wouldn't be that important. I would think that I'd be stressing more about finding enough water or the proper nutrients for my kids, but God knew something that I'm too dense and stubborn to figure out: He knew that keeping my taste buds off balance would just send me into a tailspin. Remove a Hershey's kiss or two and I'll deal. Take away ALL of my chocolate and my cheeseburgers and I'm one cranky girl. You'll get my attention this way.
And guess what? There's no 'if' I were to mess up this badly. I HAVE messed up this badly. I DO mess up this badly. I'm just as stubborn as the Israelites - I keep messing up over and over again. What does this mean for me? Unlike the Israelites, we are covered in Jesus' grace. That first covenant has been fulfilled and we're operating under a different umbrella. I don't think that gives us a 'get-out-of-jail-free' card, though. He still wants our attention. I think He's still using food to get it.
I looked up 'satisfied' in dictionary.com and got the word 'content.' When I looked up UNsatisfied, I found the word 'ungratified.' I looked that up to get the official definition, and found that 'gratified' means 'receiving what was desired.' A note comes with that definition, though, that changing the form of the word 'gratified' will give you 'grateful,' which means having or showing thanks.
In a rather roundabout way, doesn't this mean that when we are ungrateful, we become disobedient? When we become disobedient, we reveal our distance from God. When we aren't listening and staying snuggled in close to God, He knows that messing with our food will create cravings in us - cravings that we might mistake at first for a hot fudge sundae, but that we'll soon figure out are solely for Him. When we stay closely connected to Him, we can revel in His peace and those crazy cravings go away - because we have what we REALLY desire most of all.
I haven't read all of the book yet - I'm trying to be patient and study it as I go - but this verse really jumped out at me today. I'm sure Lysa already knows all of this, but for me, this was a revelation kind of moment. God knows IN ADVANCE what He's going to do to get our attention (of course - He knows everything). He has His heavenly behavior modification plan all mapped out. He's been warning us for thousands of years that He'll mess with our food if we stray too far. Why does it surprise me when He does what He says He'll do?
More importantly, how can I stay tucked in there closely - how can I keep my attention on Him and not on chocolate cheesecake - so He doesn't need to do it again??